Tumor progression is a multistep process, which enables cells to evolve from benign to malignant tumors. This progression has been suggested to depend on six essential characteristics identified as the "hallmarks of cancer," which include: self-sufficiency in growth signals, insensitivity to growth-inhibitory signals, evasion of apoptosis, limitless replicative potential, sustained angiogenesis, and tissue invasion and metastasis. Osteopontin (OPN) is an integrin-binding protein that has been shown to be associated with the progression of several cancer types, and to play an important functional role in various aspects of malignancy, particularly tissue invasion and metastasis. Here we studied genes regulated by OPN in a model of human breast cancer using oligonucleotide microarray technology by comparing the gene-expression profiles of 21NT mammary carcinoma cells transfected to overexpress OPN versus mock-transfected control cells. From over 12,000 human genes, we identified 99 known human genes differentially regulated by OPN whose expression changed by at least 1.5-fold and showed statistically significant differences in mean expression levels between groups. Functional classification of these genes into the hallmarks of cancer categories showed that OPN can affect the expression of genes involved in all six categories in this model. Furthermore, we were able to validate the expression of 18/19 selected candidate genes by quantitative real-time PCR, further supporting our microarray findings. This study provides the first evidence that OPN can lead to numerous gene expression changes that influence multiple aspects of tumor progression and malignant growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research